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Thursday, February 24, 2005


  • Flaming Lips - Clouds Taste Metallic. Back in 1995, these guys weren't making polished synth-heavy psychedelic pop records about robots, Superman and spider bites, like they are today; no, back in 95, they were making fuzzed-out, distortion-laden lo-fi psychedelic pop records about giraffes and lighting striking the postman. But, listening to this, it's clear that the song structures and melodic style haven't changed much, just the sounds they make - it's the same band, just with a different instrumentation and approach to recording. And I like it.

  • The Colorblind James Experience - Greatest Hits! . Few bands have truly unique sounds; with many bands you can pick out a few clear influences and draw a pie chart that shows how much each band contributed to their sound - but not with CBJE. Their sound is more a blend of genres than of bands; and it's not a matter of jumping from style to style between or within songs like some other non-classifiable bands, CBJE's sound is itself a blend of rock, lounge jazz, jumpy polka, lazy country/western, etc.. I've heard it described as "circus rock". Many of their songs just repeat the same few bars again and again, hypnotically, while different instruments (including a vibraphone and horns) solo over it and the singer tells a story in his laconic deadpan voice; and even the fast songs have a definite mellow vibe to them - sure it's danceable, but you can just sit and groove on it, man. Their first album is my favorite because the songs are just a bit more willfully oblique than their later stuff (ie. they started to lose a bit of their edge), IMO. But, that album is completely impossible to find these days; I had a cassette of it when I was in college, but I think it got tossed along the way. They were never really big in the US, outside of their hometown of Rochester NY and they're defintely an acquired taste, so finding a CD copy of it has turned into a real quest. So, this "Greatest Hits!" record will have to do; and while it has a lot from that first record it also has a lot of their later stuff that just doesn't grab me the same way. Sadly, the band is no more, as (singer/vibe player) Colorblind James himself passed away a few years ago. Never went to see them when I had the chance, though I think one of my bands opened for them at a festival once. Regret.

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